Downtown Committee Update

by Ken Rosenberg

Downtown Committee Work Plan

In 1998, City Council formed the Downtown Committee with the purpose: “To promote the vitality of downtown Mountain View through recommendations to the City Council / Revitaliza-tion Authority on programs, pro-jects, and policies for economic development, a quality down-town environment and the main-tenance and development of the parking facilities.” Based on this purpose, the Downtown Com-mittee developed an ambitious work plan that was adopted by the City Council in March 1999. Many of the tasks outlined in the original work plan have been completed and have resulted in a positive transformation of the downtown. With the completion of these tasks, the role of the Committee is in a period of tran-sition and will now be focusing on retail recruitment, ongoing operations and downtown issues as they emerge.

There is a new surge towards independent retailers in the downtown (The Home Gallery, Mystique, Boutique and Therapy), and it is proposed that the City continue its efforts in this direction in order to improve the quality and diversity of retail in the downtown.

Downtown Project Updates:

Opened since last meeting: Z Pizza, Diyar Bistro and Wine Bar, FuLam Mum.

UWink: No update other than the ball is in their court to com-plete
the job and open.

Yogurberry: Apparently the franchisee did not tell corporate that major fa├žade improvements would have to be completed be-fore they could open. Corporate balked. Now it is up to the fran-chisee to either fund the refur-bishment or give up the lease. Good news for yogurt lovers, if Yogurberry falls through, there are least two other yogurt stores that are willing to pay the freight and go into that space.

Train Depot: Castro Point won the right, but has not received any permits to open their snack bar.

Old Xanh space: no news to report

142 Castro (was WG Grinders): SV Kosher Restaurant coming soon.

357 Castro (was TK Noodle): Sakoon. We think it will be an Indian restaurant coming soon

873 Castro (was Spice): Savory! Vietnamese Restaurant. Should open soon.

903 Castro (was BikeSpring): Polyvore, Inc. A startup is taking over the space

Lastly, in the space that used to be the “hotel” on the 100 block of Castro, Something interesting and unexpected was uncovered. During demolition of the interior, the new owners have discovered many architectural artifacts (columns and other structural devices) that reflect the period when the building was constructed (late 1800s). They are incurring the expense of renovating these features as opposed to simply removing them. They don’t know what will go into the space yet, but it should look fabulous when they’re done.

Downtown Signage Program

The Committee voted in favor of a look and feel for new parking / directional signs for the Downtown. This will be recommended to Council for approval. The Parking signs will “pop” with easy to identify colors and be consistent for the entire area. As far as new “informational” signs that would lead people to downtown sites (e.g.: Library, City Hall, Performing Arts Center, etc.), the Committee was split on the design and the color schemes, and even on the efficacy of having such a sign to begin with. We also voted in favor of installing two “Yield to Pedestrians” signs during the next re-surfacing of the pavement at the two entering points (train tracks & El Camino) to Castro (see:
http://tinyurl.com/5wpym9 ).

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